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March of the Christmas Demons!

epaselect epa05629238 A person dressed as the Krampus performs during the 9th Krampus meeting show in Serfaus, Tyrol, Austria, 12 November 2016. Several thousand people watched the parade of about 27 artists groups from Austria and South Tyrol, Italy. The Krampus is a folklorical figure who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved. EPA/CHRISTIAN BRUNA

I’m not going to pretend like I don’t like Christmas…mostly for the getting boozy with friends and family part and then eating a ton of food I would otherwise avoid all year. But the way I celebrate this holiday is on the far, austere end of the spectrum of cheesiness that it’s become in North America. It can be so, so goddamn cheesy. I’m not into cinnamon-scented candles or wreathes or carolling. What I respect is fucking Krampuslauf – the parade of Krampus demons that happens most notoriously in Austria, but in other parts of Europe as well. Now this is a Christmas tradition I can get down with – massive, hulking, hairy, horned demons carrying torches whose sole purpose is to terrify and punish children and adults alike. Over here we’re so obsessed with making Christmas sickeningly sweet and teaching our kids to consume toys like blind fucking idiots. As a parent of two morbidly-minded little girls, I can attest that a little fear and darkness makes the light that much brighter for kids. In fact, I can think of some kids right now that could use a visit from Krampus. According to this article on Krampuslauf, some Austrians are actually terrified to leave their houses during the first week of December, with one Salzburg-based therapist holding seminars each year to help people confront their Krampus fears in preparation for the holiday. That’s metal as fuck. So here’s our annual celebration of the most badass way to celebrate Christmas, a gallery of awesome photos of the Krampuslauf parades.




Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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